At the Durham Performing Arts Center.
No shit, forreals, Blondie! They’re touring again.
There are three original members left: Debbie Harry (of course), guitarist Chris Stein, and drummer Clem Burke. And they’ve added a lead guitar, bass player, and a keyboard (and keytar!) player.
To answer the obvious questions:
- Yes, she can still sing.
- Yes, she still looks good – for a 66 (!) year old.
- Yes, she did the rap section in “Rapture”.
- Yes, she still wears those big black sunglasses and black mini-dresses.
- Yes, she’s probably had some work done.
It was a quick show: maybe an hour, plus two encores. Which was fine. They played all their hits: “Dreaming”, “Call Me”, “Atomic”, “Rapture”, “One Way Or Another”, “The Tide Is High”, “Heart Of Glass”. They played a lot of new stuff that we didn’t know but which was good, and sounded like it could have come from their early records; after all this time, they’ve stuck with their core sound. The only old non-hit that I recognized was the opener, “Union City Blue”; I don’t think there was anything from their first two records. I could’ve stood to hear more old stuff – maybe a little “Accidents Never Happen” or “Living In The Real World” or “Rip Her to Shreds”. Their loud, fast, punk side never seemed to come through in their hits – well, except for “One Way Or Another”.
- “Rapture” – not only did she do the rap section, she did it well; and they transitioned it into an abbreviated version of the Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right To Party”.
- Drummer Clem Burke deserves a lot of credit for their sound. He was, and still is, a great high-energy drummer.
- Debbie Harry is funny, and entertaining, and not above flicking a few “motherfuckers” into old lyrics, here and there. “Heart of Glass” :
Adorable illusion and I cannot hide
I’m the one you’re using, please don’t push me aside
We could’ve made it cruising, yeah
- The sound was surprisingly muddy. It probably wasn’t the venue: DPAC is no smokey club, it’s a brand new posh concert hall. I think the problem was the bass player. There was no definition at all in his notes, just a big muddy rumble. But, Debbie Harry’s voice cut through it nicely. We were wondering if maybe she has some digital assistance on the high end, since it’s a little surprising that she can still sing some of those songs as well as she did. I didn’t hear any obvious digital glitching, so maybe not.
- A few of the old songs felt kinda sloppy, while others were tight and snappy. Not sure what that was about.
Great to finally see them. I was a big fan of their albums, but far too young to see them live, in their heyday.
In a strange bit of synchronicity, the singer for the db’s, and former REM tour guitarist, Peter Holsapple opened for them. He works at DPAC.